KARACHI: The Sindh government on Friday communicated a detailed plan for the upcoming Covid-19 vaccination drive under which first priority would be given to front-line health workers then senior citizens and people with underlying conditions before turning to the general public.
An official said that Sindh had become the first province in the country that designed such a strategy to meet the challenge.
The plan was announced in a letter sent to deputy commissioners across the province from the Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Eradication explaining administrative and technical measures about the campaign once the coronavirus vaccine was made available in the country.
The provincial health authorities have decided to replicate the polio eradication plan for the vaccination of millions of people across the province.
“It has been decided by the competent authority that additional deputy commissioner (ADC-1) being focal person of polio eradication will also act as focal person for administration of Covid-19 vaccine (as and when introduced),” said the letter.
The provincial govt will first vaccinate front-line health workers
After defining technical and administrative measures for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the letter defined the phases of the plan with priority of people who should be identified first for Covid-19 protection.
“Phase 1 — frontline health workers (staff working in ICU, HDU, isolation wards, RRTs and hospital emergencies etc). Phase 2 — 60+ years old/senior citizens. Phase 3 — people with co-morbidities (to be confirmed from previous investigation and prescription), Phase 4 — general population,” the letter read.
The provincial plan came a couple of days after the Sindh administration had sought the support of the federal government to prepare and plan for the effective vaccination strategy.
As the federal government announced that the Covid-19 vaccine would be available in March next year, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had written a letter to Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan.
The minister sought a commitment on the Covid-19 vaccine doses to be delivered to Sindh, logistics needed to maintain the cold chain, vaccination protocol, communication strategy and to establish a dashboard for data of vaccinated citizens.
As the response from Islamabad is awaited, the Sindh health administration has apparently prepared its parallel plan to meet the challenge.
Training of staff
The letter also asked the additional deputy commissioners in coordination with district health officers (DHOs) and medical superintendents to immediately start working on the administrative part of the plan, which included training of personnel and identification of health facilities where the vaccination would be made available.
“Nominate at each hospital/health facility designated place to administer Covid-19 vaccine,” it said. “Facility designated for vaccine administration must be duly equipped with a computer, android phone, printer and internet facility.”
It also asked the district administration to identify private hospitals with proper vaccination storage facilities and focal person of each such facility should also be nominated.
“Designate space for vaccination, adult vaccination counter at each health facility (i.e. DHQ hospital/tertiary hospital),” it said. “Identify/enlist healthcare workers to be vaccinated in first phase in coordination with director general health services, Sindh.”
Apart from phases of the vaccination to people with priority healthcare workers, senior citizens and those with co-morbidities, the training of the workers emerges as another crucial point of the Sindh strategy.
“Ensure training of the human resource involved in vaccine administration, vaccination protocols/SOPs, infection prevention and control (IPC), and use of recording and reporting tools on prescribed formats,” said the letter.
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020